5/17/2005

Dignified Disagreement

I’m kinda wondering if it’s worth writing about this if I can’t use names, but I was really bugged by this.
I was talking with a Chareidi relative about an upcoming wedding that we’ll both be attending. It’s an interesting shidduch, where the couple is pretty standard American yeshivish, and the father of one of the young couple is a dyed-in-the-wool (literally) YU guy.

The Chareidi relative was saying that one of their’s a struggle about whether a prominent but somewhat controversial YU Rabbi Dr., who may be in attendance, would be getting a Kibbud.

When I asked why not, my relative replied, ‘Because he’s an apikorus gamur’, and the cited a well-known moderate-Chareidi Rabbi in Israel, whose decisions my relative esteems greatly, who, apparently, holds this to be the case and references specific passages in the works of this Rabbi Dr. to bolster his position.

I instructed this relative not to bother being mechabed me at any simcha, because if that Rabbi Dr. is a heretic, then so am I (my relative doesn’t read my blog).

What bugs me isn’t so much the designation of this Rabbi Dr. as an apikorus. People are entitled to their opinions, and if one really holds that to be the case, then I can even see where one would instruct his students in that way. RAL was done so on accasion.

What bugs me is that it turns into a vendetta to make sure that certain people aren’t afforded any respect. An apikorus, one can argue, shouldn’t be an eid kiddushin. But anything else – speaking, a bracha, reading the ksubah, even siddur kiddushin are non-issues.

There’s even a famous story about how RSZA deferred the honor of being mesader kiddushin to R’ Kapach, who was supposed to be an eid, because RSZA held that R’ Kapach’s non-belief in the authenticity of the Zohar rendered him an apikorus. He didn’t disrespect him – even bestowed a greater honor on him. But here we’re talking about a total cold shoulder. It’s a bizayon. Everyone would know it if the prominent Rabbi Dr. in question didn’t get a kibbud, and it really would be a slap in his face. My relative’s Chareidi Rabbi didn’t say anything about kibbudim at weddings. Why is this an issue? Am I wrong for being totally sickened by this conversation?
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